Set yourself up for success.
In the olympic lifts the overall goal is to move the bar upward in the most efficient way possible.
Efficiency meaning the best way you can leverage biomechanics, force, and velocity to perform the lift.
The goal of the starting position is to prepare the body and bar for the efficient upward movement.
A proper starting position ensures the first domino hits correctly so the remainder of the lift can be performed efficiently. If the starting position is even slightly off then compensation occurs further along the lift. Most common is the hips rising early then swinging forward to smack the bar, or being off balance and shifting forward followed by an early extension.
Begin with the end in mind.
When setting up at the bar your feet should be underneath your hips. This varies from person to person but generally works for most people. It’s the best foot placement for a tall explosive extension. Think about when you jump. Your feet are usually somewhere between directly beneath your hips and your squat stance.
The bar should be over the ball of your foot and the arms should be vertical from a side view.
This allows for your hips to sink so your spine can sit more upright. As the hips sink your shins shift forward but only enough to allow the arms to stay vertical.
The hip height will vary depending on the height of the athlete. A longer athlete might have their hips lower and a shorter athlete usually has there hips above the knees. But the hips move to a spot where the bar can sit above the ball of the foot and arms can be vertical from a side view.
Keeping the torso upright and arms vertical from a side view helps keep the bar close to the body through the first and second pull. If the bar shifts away from the body it can increase stress on the low back and fatigue the spinal erectors. The bar must stay close to maintain control and optimize force onto the bar.
Think about hugging a 30 pound medicine ball, and think about holding the medicine ball in front of you with straight arms. Which one can you do longer? It’s obvious that holding the medicine out in front will exhaust your arms quickly. The same goes for your low back when the weight shifts away from the body. Your under control when the bar stays close.
Since the bar is over the ball of the foot and and in front of our body we need to maintain balance. If I begin to lift the bar directly upward from the start (over the ball of my foot) then my weight will be shifted too far forward. Front to back I want to maintain balance to efficiently move the bar up. If my weight shifts forward I’m wasting energy and out of position. This is why the bar needs to slightly shift back during the first pull.
So before you begin to move the bar you want to push the middle of your foot (mid-foot) into the ground. The mid-foot is behind the ball of your foot creating front to back balance as you bring the bar off the ground. Pushing through the mid-foot also allows the bar to shift back as you rise in the first pull which sets you up for a better second pull.
Get your body into the position that best sets you up for the rest of the lift.
The first domino has to hit correctly.